UV rays, acronym for “ultraviolet,” are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths shorter than visible light. They are divided into three categories: UVA (315-380 nm), UVB (280-315 nm), and UVC (100-280 nm), of which only the first two rays reach the Earth’s surface.
What damage can UV rays cause to our body?
Exposure to UV rays can cause damage to the skin and eyes, such as sunburn, premature aging, wrinkles, dark spots, and, in extreme cases, skin cancer. It is therefore important to protect yourself properly from UV rays, for example, by using high-protection sun cream and sunglasses.
In particular, the eyes are sensitive to ultraviolet rays, and the eye tissues mainly involved in their absorption are the cornea and lens.
Exposure to UV rays is indicated as one of the major risk factors for various eye diseases, including:
— Pterygium: fibrovascular thickening of the conjunctiva
— Keratitis: severe inflammation of the cornea that causes pain and photosensitivity
— Cataracts: progressive opacification of the lens cells
— Skin cancer in the eyelid area
How can we protect ourselves from UV rays
To protect the eyes from the damage of UV rays there are some things we can do:
Wear sunglasses with UV protection lenses
Choose sunglasses that block at least 99% of UVB rays and 95% of UVA rays. Gray lenses are often the best choice because they do not alter real colors.
Use sunglasses with side coverage
Glasses with side coverage block UV rays that can penetrate the lenses laterally. This type of glasses is particularly important if you work or practice outdoor sports.
Choose good quality sunglasses
Cheap sunglasses may be attractive, but they often do not offer adequate protection against UV rays. Investing in a pair of quality sunglasses with protective lenses is a smart choice for long-term eye protection.
Use hats or visors
Wearing a hat or visor can help reduce exposure to UV rays on the sides of the face and eyes.
Avoid looking directly at the sun
Never look directly at the sun, as exposure to UV rays can cause serious eye damage. If you need to look at the sun for some reason (such as during a solar eclipse), use special glasses designed for sun protection.
It is important to protect yourself even on cloudy days
Even when the sky is overcast, about 90% of UV rays can still enter our eyes. Therefore, it is always recommended to use lenses, both prescription and sunglasses, that provide UV protection.
For these reasons, it is always recommended
to use lenses, both for vision and for sun,
that ensure UV protection.